Anyway, I can see placing Chen ahead of Nancy on the basis of the second mark. Her choreography was better and her interpretation had more depth. I wouldn't put her ahead of Kerrigan (or Baiul) in this particular instance, but all of the top 4 ladies were very different and had their merits. Sato had the best basic skating quality of them all, for instance, and her tech mark should have been at least as high as Baiul's. There really wasn't that much separating the 4 of them in these performances.
Even her 2 triple lutzes is atleast as valuable as Nancy doing a triple toe-triple combination, and putting a hand down on the triple flip is better than just doing a double IMO. So jump wise, content anyway, she was atleast as strong as Nancy. Although her jumps at that point were smallish without much flow out, and Oksana and Nancy had bigger and better quality jumps. Her choreography and musical interpretation was very strong and underrated. Her spins were much better than the disaster they were in later years, and the top women that year weren't strong spinners anyway, apart from Sato who was a very good one.
I still could easily see Chen and Sato being placed 1st and 2nd (in either order) in the LP but realistically the way judging worked back then, with Sato not in the final flight, and Chen 4th after a mistake in her short program, neither were ever going to be placed higher than they were in the long program. After the short program it was clear the battle for gold was between Baiul and Kerrigan, Sato was out of any medal contention, and Chen was now going to fight for the bronze with Bonaly.
As for Oksana B., it's as if she's two people. Back to the original question, Baiul at sixteen or so, skating her Olympic programs, is an indelible part of Olympic history. The Oksana of today seems to have no connection with the eager girl who is so revered by fans around the world.
By the way, here's a recent article on the other Oksana, Pasha Grishuk. She seems to have settled down and is working hard as a coach in California. Even at her most diva-ish, I always felt that she had the self-discipline that Baiul lacked, and she seems to have proved it by her diligence as a coach to young students. One especially nice thing I remember about her was hearing that as a pro she often traveled with one of her Olympic gold medals, because fans would ask to see it and she wanted them to have the chance to look at an Olympic medal up close.
I think Oksana Baiul got fame and fortune too quickly for someone her age and with not alot of support to guide her through it. From my perspective, her contribution to the sport was only the Olympics and only because she came out of nowhere to win and had a great backstory. Beyond that - her behavior off the ice was questionable, her weight gain, the loss of her jumps, her behavior off the ice again, and like someone upthread said - her ability to play the blame game. I think she was a very talented and charismatic skater who lost it all pretty quickly! JMO
Longman, Jere (October 16, 1998). "Striving for Recovery from Grip of Alcohol". The New York Times.
She said she felt ''a lot of pain inside'' and ''pressure'' and she turned to alcohol for consolation. In January 1997, she crashed her Mercedes into a tree and was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. The charge was later dropped after Baiul met the terms of her probation and completed an alcohol education program.
But her drinking continued and her skating reached an embarrassingly low level. At one point, Baiul said, she suffered a nervous breakdown and was unable to leave her bed. Last May, she was removed from the Champions on Ice tour by the promoter, Tom Collins, who said in an interview that he had been concerned about Baiul's drinking. She entered an alcohol rehabilitation program and remained for two and a half months, she said.
Driving, I didn't mean to imply that I was kicking her to the curb. I just think it's very sad that she finally had some good things happen to her in her life and couldn't control them. Doing a lutz doesn't mean much if you fall on the triple toe or the double axel. I used to hurt watching her try to regain her technical skills, get back in decent physical shape, and stop putting her skate in her mouth. I don't wish Oksana any ill will and I do wish she could get her life back on track permanently. I'm not so sure capitalizing on her Olympic gold medal is the way to do it. Seems like it would just bring more pressure. JMO
If Oksana outclassed everyone with her artistry, then she shouldn't have won gold, she should have won silver, behind Katarina, who still had more artistry and feeling in her program than Baiul did. It was just more subtle than Broadway showtunes.
ETA-- With regard to the tale of "Two Oksanas"-- Baiul and Grishuk have actually become FRIENDS! Baiul visited Grishuk in OC last summer.
Last edited by blue dog; 11-14-2013 at 03:39 PM.